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Paul Graham’s Lessons for Startups Startup School 2006
Background <ul><li>Paul Graham speaking to students at Startup School 2006, Stanford University </li></ul><ul><li>Watch th...
1. Release Early <ul><li>Get a version 1 out fast and improve it based on user’s reactions </li></ul><ul><li>Startups die ...
2. Keep Pumping Out Features <ul><li>Improve on version 1 fast </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on customer needs </li></ul><ul><li...
3. Make Users Happy <ul><li>Loyal users are worth more than gold </li></ul><ul><li>But don’t ignore casual users </li></ul...
4. Fear the Right Things <ul><li>Worry about the right things </li></ul><ul><li>Disasters are normal </li></ul><ul><li>Wor...
5. Commitment is a Self-fulfilling Prophecy <ul><li>Bet on grad-students, not professors </li></ul><ul><li>Disasters are t...
6. There’s Always Room <ul><li>Think of the possibilities for improvement, not the status quo </li></ul><ul><li>Google, My...
7. Don’t Get Your Hopes Up <ul><li>Optimism is power but also dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Be realistic about what you expe...
Conclusion <ul><li>Startups are stressful </li></ul><ul><li>Why do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Startups are a way of compressing...
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Paul Graham’S Lessons For Startups 2006

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Transcript of "Paul Graham’S Lessons For Startups 2006"

  1. 1. Paul Graham’s Lessons for Startups Startup School 2006
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>Paul Graham speaking to students at Startup School 2006, Stanford University </li></ul><ul><li>Watch the video </li></ul>
  3. 3. 1. Release Early <ul><li>Get a version 1 out fast and improve it based on user’s reactions </li></ul><ul><li>Startups die because they release too slow, not too fast </li></ul><ul><li>User feedback is unpredictable but critical </li></ul><ul><li>Releasing early creates a sense of urgency to fix live bugs </li></ul>
  4. 4. 2. Keep Pumping Out Features <ul><li>Improve on version 1 fast </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on customer needs </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Continuous improvement is great marketing </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to your users </li></ul><ul><li>Force yourself to improve </li></ul>
  5. 5. 3. Make Users Happy <ul><li>Loyal users are worth more than gold </li></ul><ul><li>But don’t ignore casual users </li></ul><ul><li>Show (don’t tell) users what the software does </li></ul>
  6. 6. 4. Fear the Right Things <ul><li>Worry about the right things </li></ul><ul><li>Disasters are normal </li></ul><ul><li>Worry about startups, not big companies </li></ul><ul><li>Worry about future competitors, not current competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Top 3 real concerns: internal miscues, inertia, ignoring users </li></ul>
  7. 7. 5. Commitment is a Self-fulfilling Prophecy <ul><li>Bet on grad-students, not professors </li></ul><ul><li>Disasters are the norm </li></ul><ul><li>Investors judge startups by the founders’ commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Be ready to fight to the death </li></ul>
  8. 8. 6. There’s Always Room <ul><li>Think of the possibilities for improvement, not the status quo </li></ul><ul><li>Google, MySpace, Facebook, and del.ico.us are not the final startups ever </li></ul>
  9. 9. 7. Don’t Get Your Hopes Up <ul><li>Optimism is power but also dangerous </li></ul><ul><li>Be realistic about what you expect others (users, employees, deals) to do </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t pin all hopes on one investor, one customer, one supplier </li></ul><ul><li>Be flexible and keep other options open </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on users, users, users </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conclusion <ul><li>Startups are stressful </li></ul><ul><li>Why do it? </li></ul><ul><li>Startups are a way of compressing years of employment into a shorter time </li></ul><ul><li>Startups can be fun </li></ul>
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